The Impact of Food and Lifestyle on Cancer
Cancer is a complex and tricky topic, to say the very least. The science is evolving, and we are learning more every day! That being said, tons of factors go into the development of cancer, ranging from genetics, lifestyle, diet, and more!
While controlling your genetics may not be an option, your diet and lifestyle are two huge components that you have control over (hint: your diet and lifestyle can turn on and off genes!). Many people view food as calories and their macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. However, food is so much more than that. Food fuels your cells, with each nutrient having unique properties that affect your cells and body on a molecular level. Similarly, your lifestyle greatly impacts your body on a cellular level. If you live your life constantly stressed, then your body and cells are responding to this fight-or-flight, which you can imagine is not beneficial long-term.
Today’s post dives into foods and supplements with unique anti-cancer properties, sneaky things in your life that may contribute to cancer, and our top tips for a healthy body.
Foods with Anti-Cancer Properties
Food is SO powerful! Your diet impacts your body and influences your overall health more than you can imagine! Have you ever been told to eat the rainbow? Well, it turns out it is for a good reason! The different colors of food correlate to various nutrients and properties. So eating a colorful diet helps to ensure you are getting a wide range of these nutrients to fuel your body. If you are interested and want to learn more, you can read about it here!
When talking about food with anti-cancer properties, we look for nutrients that promote detoxification, lower inflammation, and support gut health.
- Crucerifous Veggies (think: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels) contains nutrients like sulforaphane, lutein, zeaxanthin and fiber that promote detoxification and are anti-inflammatory
- Dark Leafy Greens (think: kale, spinach, collard greens, microgreens) – contains carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, in addition to folate, vitamin C, and so much more, which are powerful nutrients that fight cancer and help protect the body
- Tomatoes – contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant
- Berries – rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and phenolic acids, which work to reduce inflammation and fight cancer
- Asparagus – rich in prebiotics (feeds the gut bacteria), folate, and quercetin which have properties to help fight cancer
- Garlic – contains allicin, which is linked to turning on tumor-suppressing genes
- Cinnamon – rich in polyphenols with anti-cancer properties
- Green Tea – rich in polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties
- Wild Caught Fish (think: salmon, sardines, and anchovies) – great source of Omega 3’s which help fight inflammation
- Organic Organ meats (think: liver) – super nutrient-dense, full of selenium, Vitamin B12, and zinc
If this feels overwhelming, and you are unsure where to begin or even what this may look like, we have put together a sample day of eating for your reference.
Breakfast: Garlic, onion, kale, carrot, sweet potato scramble with organic tofu
Lunch: Kale, cabbage, sunflower seeds, beets, wild-caught fish, olive oil/ apple cider vinegar dressing
Snack: Emerald green juice: Spinach, kale, collards, apple, ginger, lemon, parsley, cilantro + handful of nuts (you choose!)
Dinner: Steamed/sauteed veggies (you pick!) with mushrooms, ½ avocado, beans or local/organic chicken/meat
This may be right up your alley, and you are ready to jump in! Or maybe, this feels overwhelming to you, and that is ok too! Try starting small and build up from there! This may look like incorporating one more fruit and veggie per day and going from there.
Supplements with Anti-Cancer Properties
There are some supplements we love that have anti-cancer properties. Supplements can be super beneficial in that they are potent and therefore formulated in effective doses. Similar to foods with anti-cancer properties, many of these supplements boast anti-inflammatory, detoxification, and immune system benefits.
Supplements with anti-cancer properties:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B complex
We highly suggest working with a health practitioner to determine what supplements may be beneficial for you and in what doses. Note that while supplements can be helpful, the industry is unregulated, which is why we cannot stress enough working alongside a health practitioner to learn about high-quality brands we trust.
Sneaky Things in your life that can contribute to cancer
Sadly, more things in your life may contribute to cancer than not. These days almost everything is processed and contains chemicals that are harmful to our health. Therefore, taking a good look at your lifestyle and environment is key.
Toxins to look out for in your life:
- Food intolerances/allergies
- Toxic household/cleaning products (think: sprays, soaps, candles, etc.)
- Toxic Beauty products (think: makeup, deodorant, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner)
- Poor water quality
- Plastic containers
- Some non-stick cookware
- Food additives and colorings
- Low-quality oils!! (think: canola, safflower, rapeseed, etc.) – these are highly inflammatory to the body!
- Pesticides (Always eat organic when possible)
Similar to food, we recommend starting small! We love helping clients set goals for themselves and work alongside them to achieve these goals and incorporate these new practices/behaviors into their life in a practical and enjoyable way, so it becomes a part of their lifestyle.
A practical tip we love for swapping out toxic products for non-toxic ones is to wait until you finish a product to buy an alternative non-toxic version! Want to learn more about what products to look out for and our favorite non-toxic products? Check out this post.
Our top ten lifestyle tips to help support a healthy body
You may be surprised how simple changes to your lifestyle can positively impact your health (we are talking both physical and mental!).
Ten lifestyle tips to support a healthy body:
- Hydrate (seriously! Aim for to drink half of your body weight in ounces)
- Get moving (any type of movement counts! Do not underestimate something as small as a 10-minute walk or taking the stairs instead of the elevator)!
- Get outside (DYK being in nature reduces stress levels and may reduce cancer risk!)
- Get a good sweat in (through exercise, sauna, etc.)
- Engage in mindfulness practices to reduce stress (think: meditation, journaling, yoga, or even going for a walk in nature without those headphones in!)
- Have a nighttime routine to support good quality sleep
- Cook the majority of meals at home
- Challenge yourself to reduce alcohol intake (you may be surprised how good your body feels when doing so!)
- Make time to talk/hang out with friends and family
- Focus on giving your body the time and space to rest and do things that make you happy!
The Bottom Line
While we cannot give you the magic pill to avoid cancer, we can give you the tools to support your body to optimize your health! Truthfully, and most of the time, the answer we do not want to hear
, is that focusing on whole unprocessed foods, exercising, getting quality sleep, and reducing stress levels will leave your body feeling energized, happy, and healthy.
Want to learn more? Click here to work with us!